Province of Canada, Legislative Council, [Montreal Gazette version], 8th Parl, 3rd Sess, (7 February 1865)
By: Province of Canada (Parliament), Montreal Gazette
Citation: “Latest from Quebec”, Montreal Gazette (8 February 1865).
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QUEBEC, Feb. 7.
CONFEDERATION OF THE COLONIES.
Hon. Mr. CAMPBELL said the meaning of the 16th clause was, that nominations of the Federal Legislative Council by the local governments should be by the Provincial Governments now existing.
In reply to a question, be added that the phraseology of one resolution— that referring to the export duty on timber and coal— had been revised since the first printed copies were issued. Power to levy such duty was intended by Conference to be limited to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
Hon. Mr. CURRIE was in favor of confederacy, but must demand that it be placed on a fair and just basis. He referred to the reasons to the reasons given by Sir E. P. Tache, that there was a danger of absorption by the Northern States if we did not form a union, and be combatted this argument. There was no desire in Canada to change our lot as British subjects. Are we in danger of aggression? Shall we gain accession of strength by the proposed union. There would be no added strength. It would be like tying a rope to another weak piece. There were 128 thousand then of military age in the Lower Provinces, 63,000 at sea, 65,000 being left for land defence. And that was all that could be called out.— less than twenty thousand, which was not enough to defend the harbors, certainly not a long frontier. He declared the govt was formed on the basis of introducing a Federal Govt in Canada, with power others to come in, not to inaugurate this union. The country and Legislative are not prepared now to pronounce to this question. It had not yet been discussed in public meetings. What could be lost by delay? He argued that the temporary expedient to carry the scheme now was objectionable. Just as in the time of the former union, the adoption of the principle of the equal representation of the two former Provinces had led tall the trouble since. He thought exaggeration had been used on both sides to depict the riches of each Province to the people of the others. He said our wealth and resources were not so great as represented, and quoted figures to show the balance of trade was against us, and there was a consistent drain of money abroad to pay interest on loans and dividends on investments. He would object to go on with this part of the scheme without the rest of the local governments took share in the cost of the railway, &c. If it was a simple resolution in favor of the desirability of the union of the colonies, that House would be as unanimous as the Conference had been. We were here asked blindly to vote for a half-developed scheme. He objected to the local allowances as fixed; they would not change with a change of population. Re-urged the distribution of debt was unfair, the very insufficient statement of assets these colonies bring in; we had great public works and canals, which were unrivalled by any in the world. He proceeded to argue that the expense of the government and the burthens of taxation would be largely increased by the union. He argued there was an unfair representation of Upper Canada in the Legislative Council. In 1836, the Reformers voted for applying representation by population to the Council; why not now? He was sure the Government of Canada were not in favor of abolishing the Elective Council. He could not vote for taking away the franchise the people had entrusted to his guardianship without first having their consent. Respecting the settlement of the School laws he referred to the great indignation shown when the present Upper Canada Separate School Act was passed. He read extracts from the Globe at the time denouncing all supporters of it. Yet that very system, thus denounced, forms part of the present scheme. It was not fair to the minorities, in either Upper or Lower Canada that the promised bills to settle educational rights were not brought down and examined before being asked to vote for a general scheme. Honorable gentlemen should hesitate are voting for this bill. They should not pass it through without seeing the Educational bills and the estimates of the cost of the Railway. It ought not to go on without further expression of popular opinion. He said the smaller Press of the country had been subsided by the government, therefore, to say nothing against it. He hoped, if pressed here without an appeal to the people, that New Brunswick and Nova Scotia would check this undue haste. Let the people get time to think over it, and in the future they might form a just and equitable union, likely to last and prove a blessing to the people of all Provinces.